French, except Sarkozy, want troops out of Afghanistan

Peace demonstrators

By Olivier Laurent in France:

France pulls back from immediate Afghanistan troop withdrawal

28 January 2012

President Nicolas Sarkozy will keep French troops in Afghanistan despite rising popular opposition in France to the NATO occupation following the January 20 deaths of four French soldiers, killed while they were training Afghan soldiers.

The attack that killed the French soldiers was carried out by a 21-year-old Afghan soldier with no direct links to the Taliban. He said that he decided to do it after seeing a video showing several American soldiers urinating on the heads of dead Afghans. (See “Ten NATO troops killed in Afghanistan“)

The reactions of the dead soldiers’ families highlighted widespread popular hostility to the French presence in France. A sister of one of the deceased soldiers told RTL Radio: “It’s Nicolas Sarkozy’s fault that my brother died. He should bring everybody out of Afghanistan as soon as possible—all those young people, husbands, brothers. It’s not getting better, it’s getting worse and worse.”

Even before the incident, IFOP opinion polls showed growing opposition to France’s presence in Afghanistan—rising from 64 percent in August 2009, to 70 percent in August 2010, and to 74 percent in August 2011.

Only months from the May 2012 presidential elections, Sarkozy fears this popular opposition to the occupation of Afghanistan that has been going on now for over 10 years. His first reaction was to mention a possible withdrawal of troops before the official NATO date set for 2014, stating, “The French army is not in Afghanistan to get shot at by Afghan soldiers.”

He changed his mind on Wednesday, however, pompously declaring, “Let’s not misdirect our anger, let’s not be blinded by pain, however sharp it may be. The enemy today, yet again, is terrorism, which disguised as an ally has attempted, through France, to strike at the very idea of freedom.”

After some interviews with his American counterpart Hillary Clinton, Foreign Minister Alain Juppé declared that the government did not intend “to give way to panic …When I hear talk of immediate withdrawal, even at the end of 2012, I’m not convinced that this was fully thought through and studied.”

Juppé was making a dig at the presidential candidate of the French bourgeois “left”, François Hollande of the Socialist Party (PS), who had talked of a withdrawal in 2012 if he were to be elected president.

The decision to keep the French troops in Afghanistan is in line with the geo-political interests of French imperialism, which has tried to improve its relationship with the US and other European powers by placing its soldiers in the most dangerous areas of Afghanistan.

In August 2008 the Sarkozy government decided to change the placement of French soldiers, who until then had been confined to Kabul, in order to “put France quite clearly at the heart of the Western family, restore a relationship of confidence with the American people and leaders, and renew our relationship with the Atlantic Alliance.”

French troops will be out of Afghanistan by the end of 2013, Sarkozy affirms: here.

The presidents of Afghanistan and France agreed at the weekend that Nato should hand all “combat operations” to the Afghan National Army in 2013: here.

Mistreatment of Afghan women caused by far more than Taliban: here.

Modern-Day Army Deserters Can’t Count on Canada. Robert Wilbur, Truthout: “Military resisters have two choices: seek conscientious objector (CO) status, or flee to Canada…. There is the fate of service people who are denied CO status and who face a second, third or fourth deployment – with the possibility of having their legs blown off by an improvised explosive device or a bullet hole courtesy of our allies in the Afghan Army, whom we are training in weaponry. If you don’t want to give up your legs or your life, you may determine your only choice is Canada”: here.

At least 41 people, mainly children, have frozen to death in Afghanistan’s coldest winter in years, a health official reported today: here.

An analysis by Lt. Col. Daniel Davis, which the U.S. Army has not approved for public release but has leaked to Rolling Stone magazine, provides the most authoritative refutation thus far of the official military narrative of success in the Afghanistan War since the troop surge began in early 2010: here.

More U.S. troops lost limbs in 2011 than in any previous year of fighting since the 9/11 attacks, recently published Pentagon data shows: here.

Hundreds of opposition protesters forced French President Nicolas Sarkozy to take refuge in a Bayonne cafe for over an hour on Thursday, turning his election campaign walkabout into a public relations disaster: here.

6 thoughts on “French, except Sarkozy, want troops out of Afghanistan

  1. Dear Friend,

    Look what you did!

    The United States hopes to end its combat mission in Afghanistan by the middle of next year, more than a year earlier than scheduled, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta said Wednesday.

    “…Panetta’s comments about an accelerated change in the military mission were the latest sign that the United States and its NATO allies are seeking to hasten the end of their involvement in the unpopular, decade-long war.”1

    Remember where we started? Back in February 2008, only 32 percent of Americans polled said we should “remove troops ASAP.” But together we’ve spread the truth about the war through our videos, through your emails and phone calls to decision-makers and your constant insistence that the war doesn’t make us safer and isn’t worth the cost. Thanks to you, 63 percent of Americans now oppose the war, and a whopping 58 percent want to get troops out “ASAP.”2

    Together, we’ve moved public opinion squarely onto the side of peace and justice. Washington, D.C. is feeling the heat, and the end of the war gets closer every day.

    Though we still have work to do to get all the troops home from Afghanistan, this is a sure sign that your activism with the Rethink Afghanistan campaign is having an impact.

    The forces manipulating our politics and making a killing off of the Afghanistan occupation won’t just roll over, though. In fact, Big War companies like Lockheed Martin, Boeing and Northrop Grumman are escalating their lobbying campaign to keep their gravy train rolling. That’s why we’ve rolled out a new campaign to fight their influence: War Costs.

    Please build on your successes with Rethink Afghanistan by joining our new campaign.

    Congratulations on pushing the administration to speed up the end of combat operations in Afghanistan. Let’s keep the pressure on with the War Costs campaign.


    Derrick Crowe, Robert Greenwald
    and the Brave New Foundation team


    1Washington Post, Feb. 1, 2012.

    2Pew Research Center. Jan. 11-16, 2012.


  2. Afghan War: Italian Death Toll Rises To 45

    RTT News
    February 20, 2012

    3 Italian Soldiers Killed In Afghan Road Accident

    Three Italian soldiers, serving as part of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), were killed in a road accident in western Afghanistan on Monday.

    The accident occurred as an armored jeep they were traveling in overturned while crossing a stream in the town of Shindand in Herat province, reports quoting the Italian Defense Ministry said.

    The soldiers were racing to rescue another military unit which was blocked in bad weather when they met with the accident.

    With this, the number of Italian troops killed in Afghanistan rose to 45, and foreign troop casualties this year to the same number.

    With 3,952 soldiers, mainly deployed in the western part of the country, Italy has the fifth-largest troop contingent constituting ISAF in Afghanistan. It heads the western regional command headquartered in Herat.


    Afghanistan: NATO Loses 50 Soldiers So Far This Year

    Xinhua News Agency
    February 21, 2012

    NATO soldier dies in Afghanistan

    KABUL: A soldier from the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) died in restive southern Afghan region on Tuesday, the ISAF forces confirmed.

    “An International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) service member died as a result of a non-battle related injury in southern Afghanistan today,” the ISAF said in a press release.

    However, the brief release did not reveal the nationality of the victim, only saying “it is ISAF’s policy to defer casualty identification procedures to the relevant national authorities.”

    Troops mainly from the United States, Britain, Canada and Australia have been stationed in the southern region within the framework of ISAF to curb Taliban-linked insurgency there.

    A total of 50 NATO soldiers, most of them Americans, have been killed in Afghanistan since the beginning of this year.

    Currently more than 130,000 NATO-led ISAF with majority of them Americans have been serving in Afghanistan.


    Saakashvili Visits Georgian Troops In Afghanistan

    February 20, 2012

    Saakashvili visits Georgian servicemen in Afghanistan

    TBILISI: Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili met with Georgian servicemen from the NATO contingent in the Helmand province of Afghanistan on Monday, Georgian television said.

    Defense Minister Bacho Akhalaia accompanied the president.

    Saakashvili’s address to the servicemen and a ceremony to award some servicemen with orders and medals were broadcast on television.

    Up to 1,000 Georgian servicemen are in Afghanistan at present. The number will increase by 700 soon.

    Twelve servicemen died and several dozen have been wounded since Georgia became involved in the NATO operation in Afghanistan in 2009.


    Opposition Party Demands End To U.S. Colonization Of Georgia

    February 21, 2012

    Opposition demands end to U.S. colonization of Georgia

    The Labour Party in Georgia has accused the United States of interfering into the country’s internal affairs.

    In a letter to U.S. President Barack Obama, the party asked him to stop colonizing Georgia. It says: “Georgians have long realized that the puppet ruler Saakashvili means more to you than the whole of Georgia, its culture and history”.

    The United States has been using Georgia as a pawn in geopolitical games aimed at fueling confrontation with Russia, a policy that has split Georgian society, while giving Washington an opportunity to bargain with Moscow.

    The Labour party demanded the recall of U.S. Ambassador to Tbilisi John Bass, who, it says, is refusing to contact anyone except the authorities and the U.S.-appointed opposition. The letter appeared in the Georgian media on Tuesday.


  3. Pingback: Jews, Muslims murdered in France | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  4. Pingback: Sarkozy’s Bettencourt scandal | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  5. Pingback: New French president says out of Afghanistan | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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